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500 turn up at Speakers Corner, still upset about losses in minibonds. Andrew Loh reports.

1,017 have signed fourth petition to MAS

Andrew Loh / Deputy Editor

Click here to visit TOC Youtube for the videos of the event. Also, see below for a South China Morning Post report on what the authorities in Hong Kong are doing.

In his fourth appearance at Speakers’ Corner in as many weeks, Mr Tan Kin Lian announced that 1,017 people have signed the petition to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It is the fourth petition which Mr Tan has initiated to help investors who are affected by the discredited structured products.

The petition calls for “fair compensation” for investors of failed credit-linked securities who were “misled by sales reps and/or sales material” which described the products as low risk. It also calls on the MAS to restore investor trust in the financial institutions (FIs) and Singapore’s international reputation as a financial hub.

The crowd of about 500 people applauded after Mr Tan finished reading out the petition.

Mr Tan revealed that he has asked for a meeting with MAS chairman, Mr Goh Chok Tong, next week to hand him the fourth petition. He also wants to ask Mr Goh about the progress of the call that was made in the first petition which asked the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to look into possible mis-selling by the banks. “I’ve also asked a Member of Parliament to bring it up in Parliament,” Mr Tan told the appreciative crowd.

In his speech, the former Chief Executive of NTUC Income suggested that investors of different structured products request meetings with the top management of the FIs. Observing that the investors of DBS-sold products were “very organised”, he urged the rest to do the same. DBS investors have had meetings with the management in recent weeks.

Turning to the issue of legal action and collective action, he said that he has met with two lawyers about it. They advised that if such actions were to be taken, investors needed to start preparing now. The lawyers will be giving briefings to investors about it, Mr Tan said. However, he cautioned that legal actions should be the last thing that investors considered.

He hopes that the MAS will provide what he called “common guidelines” so that legal action can be avoided.

Guest speaker at the event, Madam Ng Ah Mun, 68, took to the stage to share her experience as an investor. She told the crowd that she had invested $100,000 in a local bank’s Star Track products in 2003. Over the five years since, she has only made a net profit of $2,928. Armed with copies of correspondence she has had with the officers of the bank and banners which she made herself, the retired teacher was furious about being “cheated”. “Don’t enter a bank,” she said, “enter at your own risk.” (Watch the video of her speech here.)

 

 

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Part One of Mr Tan Kin Lian's speech. Click here for TOC Youtube for the rest of the videos. The transcript of Mr Tan's speech can be found on his blog here.

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In Hong Kong... click on picture to read the South China Morning Post report.